The State of Texas: May 5, 2015
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Texas received some national attention yesterday from Jon Stewart! As is so often the unfortunate case, particularly with The Daily Show, we didn’t come out looking all that sane.
The Texas Crusades – Any doubt that Islamic facists were involved in Sunday nights shooting in Garland have pretty much been blown away. “The self-declared Islamic State is taking credit for a thwarted attack on a Muhammad drawing contest in Garland, Texas,” according to numerous outlets. ISIS, while violent, is also full of false bravado, so their claims are being looked into. As CNN notes, “while ISIS claimed responsibility two days after the attack, there was no immediate indication that the terror group in Iraq and Syria had contact” with the shooters. In the past day, those shooters have been identified as Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, of Arizona. While their big plan was foiled, it is probably of little comfort to discover that the FBI had been on Simpson’s trail as long as nine years ago. “Government sources said the gunmen were roommates” and “court documents show Simpson had been under surveillance since 2006 and convicted in 2011 of lying to FBI agents over his desire to join violent jihad in Somalia,” according to the Guardian. News organizations, as well as officials, are still trying to develop a comprehensive sketch of the two shooters, both of whom were killed in the shootout.
Between a Rock and a Hardened Conspiracy – Poor Greg Abbott, the governor just can’t win when it comes to the Jade Helm 15 exercises. A week after speaking to conspiracy theorists worried about a military takeover, Abbott is now taking heat from people who don’t listen to Alex Jones. Yesterday, Abbott defended his decision to have the Texas State Guard “monitor” the federal government’s elite group of fighters. Exactly how that scenerio would play out, even if the conspiracy theorists proved correct, is something of a joke (how long would a Texas–U.S. war really last?). Still, Abbott said “his office is simply looking to serve as a ‘communication facilitator’ between the military and concerned citizens,” according to the Texas Tribune. Obviousy, Democrats took their pot shots at Abbott, but even Republicans are coming out of the woodwork. Former GOP state representative Todd Smith sent a letter to Abbott saying the notion that the military is planning a coup is “embarrassing” and “accused the governor ‘of pandering to idiots,’” writes the Fort Worth Star-Tribune. Not that it can be believed, but the leaders of the New World Order responded yesterday to Jade Helm 15 fears, dismissing the conspiracy theories as “wild speculation” with one defense officials saying “Operation Jade Helm poses no threat to any American’s civil liberties.” In unrelated news (or is it?), the government recently recommended decreasing the amount of fluoride in the water.
Cities Getting Fracked – So much for the Lege representing the people’s will. “Without any substantive discussion, the Senate voted 24–7 for House Bill 40 that reasserts state control over drilling while spelling out some limited powers that cities have in regulating surface operations,” according to the Fort Worth Star-Tribune. The legislation now goes to Governor Abbott to sign. While proponents of the bill said an extensive compromise was reached, it seems pretty clear that the concerns of oil and gas companies fair outweighed those of local citizens who’d been fed on a Texas rhetoric of “local control” and keeping the guv’mint off our backs. “City officials, grassroots activists, and environmentalist are not happy with the legislation, saying simply that the bill goes too far and robs municipalities of local control that polls show the public believes they should have.” To show just how unhappy they were with the passage, opponents of the bill held a “mock funeral to mourn the death of local control” at the outdoor rotunda of the Capitol extension with “many of them . . . wearing black and standing near a fake tombstone and coffin.” RIP, indeed.
Best Barbecue Ever – Franklin Barbecue is not just the best barbecue in the country according to everyone. It has now, officially, been christened as such. Owner Aaron Franklin won Best Chef: Southwest at the annual James Beard Foundation Awards, which is, as Austin360 notes, the “culinary-world equivalent of an Oscar.” It was Franklin’s first time to be nominated and regardless of who might’ve won, Texas really represented. Four of the six nominees in the Southwest category were Texas-based chefs. Wearing a tux in Chicago, Franklin “declared that the win was ‘so much bigger than me and so much bigger than my restaurant in Austin, Texas. This is pretty huge for barbecue in general.’” It’s also probably really huge for business as well. Expect to start showing up for a Franklin’s lunch 48 hours in advance.